New York and Los Angeles have long been rivals, but while New York has historically emerged as the center of all things cool, the tides seem to be turning. The Times reports that more and more of the city’s creatives are turning to Los Angeles as a place to call home, spurring a renaissance in a town once considered a cultural wasteland. No longer is L.A. a sun-soaked land littered with dejected actors and models, but instead it’s emerging as a haven for those looking to experiment with their art without struggling to make ends meet. Read: The rents are cheap!
Image: Sunset Junction, the main drag of Silver Lake in Los Angeles
Though navigating most of L.A. is nothing like NYC—the city is far more vast, sprawling, traffic-ridden, and does not benefit from good public transit—there are exceptions that appeal to east coast sensibilities. Neighborhoods like Los Feliz, Echo Park, Venice Beach and Silver Lake are tight-knit and tout a Brooklyn vibe while channeling the artsy New York that once was. In these pockets of the city you’ll find indie labels, quirky shops, cheap vintage, a growing list of art galleries, and plenty of fair trade coffee and artisanal treats.
“Many people say that there are more creative people—visual artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers—living in Los Angeles than there are in any other city in the world, and I feel it,” Ann Philbin, a former New Yorker who is the director of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles told the Times. “It’s like New York in the ’80s. There is a huge, growing community of artists here.”
The paper also references two born and bred NYC celebs that have left the east for the west coast: Moby and Lena Dunham. Dunham recently purchased a $2.7 million home in West Hollywood even after bemoaning to Vogue that L.A. depressed her—although she does still keep a $4.8 million condo in Brooklyn Heights, which incidentally looks a lot like her Hollywood pad. Moby on the other hand sold off his Mott Street penthouse last year and has been living poolside since, unabashedly calling himself a “clichéd Angeleno.”
In an op-ed published in the Guardian last year, the musician wrote: “I was so accustomed to the city’s absurd cult of money that it took me years to notice I didn’t have any artist friends left in Manhattan…Young artists in L.A. can really experiment, and if their efforts fall short, it’s not that bad because their rent is relatively cheap and almost everyone else they know is trying new things and failing, too.”
And this latter fact may be the most appealing of all. In Echo Park (which can easily be likened to a lusher, greener version of Bushwick or LES) you can get a two-bedroom apartment for $1,700. You can’t even get a studio for that price in Brooklyn—these days, rents hover around $2,200 on average. Generally speaking, there are some great deals to be had in L.A. (Plus all that sun!)
“New York feels like it’s all about ‘making it,’ ” said Julia Price, a musician and former Manhattanite who is in her 20, to the Times. “L.A. feels like it’s all about making things.”
Would you take the plunge?
[Via New York Times]
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